Opinion: The media’s obsession with Islam

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Jalees Ahmad, London

In this day and age, the most influential tool to spread information is press and media. Day in and day out, a plethora of stories are published in newspapers that impact the common reader and society as a whole. With a stroke of a brush (who controls that brush shall be saved for a separate article), the media holds the power to influence, prompt, stimulate, confuse and affect the minds of people around the world.

As the famous American actor, Denzel Washington, in an interview in 2016, very boldly stated:

“If you don’t read the newspaper, you’re uninformed. If you do read it, you’re misinformed.”  

To this, the interviewer asked what one should do. Washington replied, “What is the long-term effect of too much information? One of the effects is the need to be first, not even to be true anymore.” 

Elaborating on this further, he said, “We live in a society where it’s just, first. ‘Who cares, get it out there. We don’t care who it hurts.’” (www.independent.co.uk/arts-entertainment/films/news/denzel-washington-fences-red-carpet-interview-fake-news-media-a7472521.html)

At times, the media wields the power to create chaos and mayhem when stories are published, not backed by facts.

Ever since 9/11, statistics show that some people have become afraid of Islam. Hate crimes against Muslims have jumped and fear of Islam has risen. This fear fuels further hatred towards anything remotely Islamic. Most of those who haven’t even met a Muslim are afraid of Muslims “taking over” or spreading Islam. Naturally, this fear stems from the lack of knowledge or understanding of the true teachings of Islam.

The question naturally arises, why is the media so complacent when it comes to reforming its portrayal of Muslims? What is the driving force behind this hatred? Who is the mastermind behind the attempt of ridding the world of Islam? Why does such a strong desire to spread false teachings about Islam exist? Who desires to defame Islam and who benefits from this?

The answer is in fact quite simple. We need only look at the time of the birth and inception of Islam when it was first opposed by those who didn’t understand it, nor did they understand faith. Driven by wealth and power, those who opposed Islam only wanted one thing: to remain in control. 

In 610 AD, when Prophet Muhammadsa was commanded by God to address the residents of Mecca, he came with the message of the One God. As time progressed, so too did the message of Islam. 

The Holy Prophetsa spread the teachings of the One God and stated that the idols, which the Meccans worshipped, could not avail anyone and were mere statues created by man. It seems, through studying history, the chiefs of Mecca felt threatened by this. They thought that if the people of Mecca and Arabia were to leave the idols and worship the One God, then, naturally, many would stop coming to Mecca for the annual pilgrimage to honour the idols which were placed in the Ka‘ba. Their concern was leaned more towards the economical benefit they received from the pilgrims.  

Mecca served as the hub of Arabia for worshipping idols. The chiefs of Mecca took advantage of this and used it to earn more wealth and profit. The more people travelled to Mecca meant their trade would benefit further. The Holy Ka‘bah housed around 360 idols. Seeing the progress of Islam and people moving away from the likes of Hubal and other idols, the chiefs of Mecca were enraged and swore to put a stop to the rise of Islam. Their hatred for Islam stemmed from the fear of losing power and control. 

The common interest in all countries today, and most wars and battles in the political world, take place as a result of economic lust. 

Fast forward to today, the same class of people who vigorously attempted to halt the spread of Islam is at it again. The materialistic attributes of the likes of Abdul Uzza ibn Abdil Mutalib – commonly known as Abu Lahab – and Amr ibn Hisham – known as Abu Jahl – are found within people even today; people who wish to extinguish the light of Islam, people who wish to control territories and the world, people who spread false teachings and slander against Islam and the Holy Prophetsa. These are the people who hate to see peaceful teachings of Islam spread into the hearts of men. 

It is regarding these bitter people that the Holy Quran states: 

وَیۡلٌ لِّکُلِّ ہُمَزَۃٍ لُّمَزَۃِ ۣ- الَّذِیۡ جَمَعَ مَالًا وَّ عَدَّدَہٗ – یَحۡسَبُ اَنَّ مَالَہٗۤ اَخۡلَدَہٗ

“Woe to every backbiter, slanderer, Who amasses wealth and counts it over and over. He thinks that his wealth will make him immortal.” (Surah al-Humazah, Ch.104: V.2- 4)

The driving force that led the chiefs of Mecca to oppose Islam was their love for wealth and its accumulation; they hoarded riches and desired to remain in control of the land of Mecca and Arabia as a whole. And so, a lesson can be learned from this angle of history. 

Those who first stood against Islam, opposed it due to their desire of remaining in control and power; and the same can be said for those groups who vehemently oppose Islam today through deceptive ways. 

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